I recently spent a day at Jury duty and I was intrigued by the question from one attorney on what would we look for and how we could be sure that someone was telling the truth during the trial.
As he went around the room with the potential jurors, myself included, I was interested in the answers- and it was unanimous– all components of body language were number one. How the person presented and answered the questions were number two and the actual words were not even mentioned. It goes back to the study that 55% of our communication is visual; 38 % is our tone and 7% the actual words.
What does this have to do with networking? Everything in that people are making an impression based on us (just as we are doing to them) mostly by our actions and not our words. The phrase ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’ is very often true.
Keep these body language components in mind when you are at your next event, meeting and basically anywhere in life that you are connecting and reconnecting with people.
Eye contact. Some of the most powerful and successful business leaders in the world are known for the impressions they make during face-to-face meetings. Their gaze never wavers from the eyes of the person they are speaking with, making them feel as if they are the most important person in the room. With a little practice, we can all do this. Are you making good eye contact throughout the conversation? Or are you looking behind the person to see who else is in the room? Eyes are the windows of the soul.
Arm movement and Feet movement. If you are speaking to someone and your arms are in a position that gives even a subliminal hint that you’re not interested, you won’t make a positive impression. What are your arms doing? And pay attention to not fidgeting or twirling your hair.
With your feet, be sure they are directly in front of the person you are speaking with. As soon as you move them to an angle, you are inviting someone else to join your conversation.
Your Posture and Stance. Make an effort to stand in a manner that is open and welcoming, rather than blocking people out of the conversation. Never be juggling a plate of food or leaning against the wall looking too relaxed. People are connecting with our presence.
Facial expressions. Maintaining an interested facial expression goes hand in hand with maintaining eye contact. Are you smiling authentically? Are you showing interest? What does your face say to the other person. Be careful not to have MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) or a phony grin. Be open, expressive and interested and real.
These brief suggestions have been around forever and Perception is reality. We all tend to judge a book by its cover, -not always fair or correct. We can go to school on these ideas daily.